There are many ways to learn a creative skill on the Internet. It can be through a professional course, watching youtube videos or hustling on the Internet to find relevant resources. This is a great path to learning. But research suggests that there is one problem, the dropout rate in online courses is between 40% to as high as 80% (B. Smith, 2010, E-learning Technologies). People lose the motivation, discipline on the way and often there is no fun element in learning in isolation.
Our team at GoSocial went through an intensive brainstorming to understand what factors contribute to creative learning. And how we can reimagine and add to the experience of learning online by creating something fun, engaging, and useful.
The findings at our end were that the lifecycle as a creator goes through the following steps, explained with an example of photography:
This is a stage where a person starts taking a conscious interest in creative skills like photography, they expose themselves to different works and forms of photography. If the triggers add up and the person goes on to develop a consistent interest, they are ready for the next stage.
Learning is a cycle that involves exploration, creation and inspiration. A person explores the world of photography, gets ideas, goes on to take pictures, explores more, gets inspiration from professional photographers, learn the tools and skills to upscale her creativity.
This is one of the most important steps in the creative journey where a person discovers if she belongs, does her work gets appreciation, can she call herself a photographer. At this stage, even a single positive comment from a competent person can boost her confidence by leaps and bounds. Projects, rewards, feedback, small earnings, winning a contest, appreciation and being part of a photography community, all of this adds to her validation.
Once she is validated as a photographer she goes on further to establish herself as a professional. This is where her skill can contribute to real world projects and enable her to earn. After spending a substantial amount of time as a professional some of them start giving back to the community through mentoring, guidance and inspiration.
Once we identified this journey, the target was to bring it to life in the form of the GoSocial App.
The core idea that emerged was to keep creators in action and provide them with a framework that keeps creation at the centre – “Learning By Doing”. At the same time fulfils all the other requirements of the creative journey like validation, feedback, and guidance.
With this approach, we came up with the concept of creative challenges – carefully designed by experts. These challenges should be able to give creative enthusiasts hands-on prompts to up-skill themselves with opportunities for expert guidance, a community and a method to gain validation, where rewards come into play.
This quote by Albert Einstein sums up this approach –
“I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn’’
– Albert Einstein
Challenges provide conditions in which a creator can learn by being in the action. Along with learning, the experience also focuses on collaboration, feedback, and validation through rewards.
In creative communities, collaboration varies from domain to domain. And it also varies from creator to creator. For example, most writers like to work in isolation. But creating a short film will involve people from various backgrounds to collaborate, such as photographers, actors, writers, editors, etc. Photography as a skill and hobby swings between both the extremes. What you do may or may not involve collaboration. But at the end of the work, every creator needs feedback, reviews/views, and also, appreciation for their creative work.
Collaboration as a feature on GoSocial will always keep on improving. At present, we are engaging with experts in the creative domains to collaborate and make challenges. We’ll extend this in the platform as well in terms of collaborative content creation, helping creators to find people with complementary skills to create content together, etc.
GoSocial engages experts to provide feedback to the people who take challenges and post their work under them. Feedback enables two-way communication and will help the artists in improving. This is also a certain kind of validation for the budding creators.
A reward model as a mechanism for validation is also built into the platform. This reward mechanism is to support creators and give them the validation which will help them keep up with their creative journey. Being a content creator is hard, it takes courage, time, and a lot of effort. And we believe it is essential to reward them for the contributions they are making.
The reward mechanism is designed such that, the more engagement you get on your posts, the more is your reputation level on the platform. And the reputation level gives a digital value to every user’s “Like” on the app. Which means, when you get a Like on your post, you earn some coins based on the like value of the person who is liking your post (which depends on their reputation level on the app). This mechanism is at a nascent stage and will improve over time. These fun elements in the GoSocial app will eventually turn into content monetization methods to support creators.